The French driver’s car exploded into a fireball after crashing on the first lap and crossing a metal barrier along the track on Sunday. Grosjean was trapped inside the flaming wreckage of the Haas car, but escaped in scenes that sparked awe and admiration around the world.
“There is going to be some psychological work to do because I really saw death coming. When you see pictures, even Hollywood is not able to do it, ”Grosjean told French television channel TF1 on Tuesday from his hospital bed in Bahrain. “Coming out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever. ”
Grosjean was estimated to be inside the Raging Oven for almost 30 seconds, but he was lucid enough to find a way out of a near-death situation.
“I don’t know if the word miracle exists or if it can be used, but it was not my time. It seemed a lot longer than 28 seconds. I saw my visor turn all orange, the flames on the left side of the car, ”he says. “I thought about a lot of things – including Niki Lauda – and I thought it was not possible to end like this, not now. I could not end my history in Formula 1 like this.
The late Lauda, a three-time F1 champion, survived but suffered horrific burns to the head after being caught in his burning car during the 1976 German GP at the Nürburgring.
Somehow Grosjean escaped with only minor burns to the back of his hands and even feels quite optimistic about taking part in the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP on December 13. His contract expires at the end of this season, and it remains uncertain whether he will be awarded a seat in F1 next year, which could effectively be his last race in F1.
“I am doing very well, considering the accident and the circumstances. My hand movements are good, so that’s the main thing. It’s not very pleasant but it’s not painful so I can’t complain, ”said Grosjean. “There is a feeling of being happy to be alive, to see things differently. But you also have to get back into the car, if possible in Abu Dhabi. ”
Grosjean, 34, has three children – the eldest only seven – and he revealed fear that they would lose their father had driven him through the flames.
“For the sake of my children, I told myself I had to go out. I put my hands in the fire and I could clearly feel my hands burning on the frame, ”said Grosjean. “My 5 year old son, Simon, is sure that I have magical powers and that I have a magical love shield. He said that’s what protected me, that I managed to get out of the car. These are very strong words. ”
Grosjean was also moved by the widespread support within F1 and beyond.
“A lot of people showed me signs of affection and that’s something that touched me a lot,” Grosjean said. “Sometimes I have tears in my eyes.”